HIV and COVID-19 Basics
People with HIV may have concerns and questions about COVID-19, including the risk of serious illness and vaccine safety. CDC will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.
We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. Nearly half of people in the United States with diagnosed HIV are ages 50 and older. People with HIV also have higher rates of certain underlying health conditions. Older age and underlying health conditions can make people more likely to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19. This is especially true for people with advanced HIV or people with HIV who are not on treatment.
People at increased risk for severe illness, and those who live with or visit them, should take precautions (including getting vaccinated and wearing a well-fitting mask) to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Some COVID-19 treatments can interact with antiretroviral therapy (ART) used to treat HIV. If you have HIV, let your health care provider know before starting COVID-19 treatment. There are no known interactions between HIV treatment and the medicine used to prevent COVID-19 (Evusheld).
For people without HIV, there is no evidence that currently available medicine used to treat or prevent COVID-19 will interact with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV.
If you have possible symptoms of COVID-19, have had a positive test, or been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, talk to your health care provider to see if you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatment or preventive medicine.
No. There is no association between COVID-19 vaccines and risk for HIV infection. COVID-19 vaccines improve the immune system’s ability to prevent COVID-19 and protect vaccinated people from the more severe complications of COVID-19.
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with HIV. COVID-19 vaccines meet the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality and people with HIV were included in vaccine clinical trials.
Authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring. This includes using established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
COVID-19 Vaccine Primary Series
Additional Primary Shot
After completing the COVID-19 vaccine primary series, some people who have advanced HIV (including an AIDS diagnosis) or who have HIV and are not taking HIV treatment should get an additional primary shot. The additional primary shot is intended to improve a person’s immune response to their two-dose COVID-19 vaccine primary series. People who are eligible for an additional primary shot should receive this dose before they get a booster shot. Talk to your health care provider to determine if getting an additional primary shot is right for you.
CDC does not recommend an additional primary shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with HIV who are virally suppressed or who do not have advanced HIV.
People with HIV can protect themselves from COVID-19 by following CDC’s COVID-19 prevention recommendations.
If you have HIV and are taking your HIV medicine as prescribed, it is important to continue your treatment and follow your health care provider’s advice. This is the best way to keep your immune system healthy. People with HIV should also continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Here are more steps that people with HIV can take:
- Make sure you have at least a 30-day (or longer) supply of your HIV medicine and any other medicines or medical supplies you need for managing HIV. Ask your health care provider about getting your medicine by mail.
- Talk to your health care provider and make sure all your vaccinations are up to date, including vaccinations against seasonal influenza (flu) and bacterial pneumonia. These vaccine-preventable diseases affect people with HIV more than others.
- When possible, keep your medical appointments. Check with your health care provider about safety precautions for office visits and ask about telemedicine or remote clinical care options.
- People with HIV can sometimes be more likely than others to need extra help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, and others. If you become sick, make sure you stay in touch by phone or email with people who can help you.
Currently, treatment for COVID-19 is limited. There are no HIV medicines approved to treat COVID-19. People with HIV should not switch their HIV medicine in an attempt to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Some clinical trials are looking at whether HIV medicines can treat COVID-19. Other trials are looking at the effectiveness of different drugs to treat COVID-19 in people with HIV. They are also looking to better understand how people with HIV manage COVID-19. You can learn more at ClinicalTrials.gov.
Everyone, including people with HIV, should follow CDC’s COVID-19 travel recommendations.
Minimizing stigma and misinformation about COVID-19 is very important. People with HIV have experience in dealing with stigma and can be allies in preventing COVID-19 stigma. Learn how you can reduce stigma and help prevent the spread of rumors about COVID-19.